A couple of miles from where I live there is a decently large (for the Isle of Man) area of forestry, the highest point being at about 300 metres and the lowest (nearest to my house) at about only 50 metres.
For as long as I have been riding trials bikes, enduro bikes and mountain bikes I've played around in there and the adjoining Tholt-y-Will plantation - it's probably some of the best riding on the Island and I like to think that I know my way round there better than most.
Over the last year or so a friend and I have ( with the help of Karen, my wife) been developing some new singletrack around the eastern perimeter, with four new bridges and some tight and technical off-camber stuff through the trees. Only last Sunday I finished routing and clearing the very last 1km section of this, which means a run from top to bottom without using any fireroads and existing tracks. Cool !
Late afternoon yesterday (after work) I thought that I just had time for a lap or two (just to be the first to put some tyre marks down....) so I headed up on the singlespeed. First lap I joined the trail halfway up and ran down through the new part, stopping to cut back a few little branches that were still in the way. It rode alright though, even the sketchy off-camber drop off an old hedge with the immediate turn to avoid some old stumps and some big old trees
Second time round, I climbed right to the top and rode the whole way down, thinking that it'll be great with a bit more bedding in
So, even though it was now peeing down, I decided it needed just one more run down the new section to end the day on a high note......
Down the first weavey section through the trees, only clipping one with the bars. Great !!
Drop down to the old hedge (which you cross at 45 degrees), barrel on over and now onto the sketchy off camber section. Front wheel washes out on the now greasey as f**k slope and takes me straight into one of the 8" high stumps (of course). I eject off the front directly towards one of the big trees and hit it bloody hard with my left shoulder and side of my head about 7 or 8 feet above the ground, pivot round it and slam down flat on my back (or on my Camelback) further on down the slope.
Let me tell you, both those impacts hurt me more than any crash I've ever had on anything and it seemed like all I could do was just lie there and curse and moan and curse some more. I'm glad I was alone anyway, it couldn't have been pretty
Once I finally got over being completely winded and could start to move a bit I gingerly explored my shoulder (not detached then) and collar bone (seems intact too
), dragged myself to my feet (remembering to pick up my pump and folding saw from where they had ended up) and very slowly walked the rest of the way to the bottom of the trail and then out of the forestry, from where I could coast the rest of the way home.
I was soaked and freezing cold but for some reason decided I had to hose off the Platsa Blue SS before going in the house.........the bike is fine, BTW
Anyway- into hot shower, dress very painfully, light fire, Karen home and a trip to Ramsey Cottage Hospital small injuries unit (only ten mins. away).
The result of all this is that I was very, very lucky and nothing is broken but I feel like (and starting to look like) I've been beaten across the shoulders and upper back with a pick-axe handle and even typing is a real effort (in fact, doing anything hurts like hell...).
So, I'll be off the bike for a little while and haven't even worked out how I'm going to get my bass rig loaded and unloaded for the gig we have this Saturday. I'll certainly have to find a nice bar stool so sit on while I'm playing....
Maybe it is
time after all that I took the advice that some people keep giving me to "hang up" my bikes?
No fool like an old fool.